“Brothers in Arms”, online at www.spokesmanreview.com is a rich, extensive portrayal of two young soldiers as well as accounts of the two older men who covered their lives. The series made Hagengruber a finalist for the 2006 Livingston Award. James Hagengruber has reported from Kuwait, Iraq, Germany, Bosnia and the Ukraine and has been published by the Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, Salon, Suddeutsche Zeitung and The Spokesman Review. Brian Plonka is staff photographer for The Spokesman Review. In 2002 he was named National Newspaper Photographer of the Year for his coverage of asbestos poisoning in Montana.
The Society of Professional Journalists is dedicated to the perpetuation of a free press while offering mentoring and best practices for students. Benjamin Shors, an assistant professor in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, organized this presentation.
“Jim and Brian are two of the finest journalists working in the Pacific Northwest. Their remarkable project takes readers on a journey from a small town in rural Idaho to the front lines of the war in Iraq.”
The following is an excerpt from “One Marine’s Paradise” one of many reports in the series, “Brothers in Arms”:
COMBAT OUTPOST NORSEMAN, Iraq – Wearing a uniform that hadn’t been washed in months and operating on a typical ration of five hours of sleep, Cpl. Matthew Shipp chambered a bullet in his machine gun and set off on his fourth patrol of the day.
The 20-year-old U.S. Marine from Hauser Lake, Idaho, sat in the front passenger seat in the “lead vic” – the first vehicle – of the small convoy. Dust had been wiped from the bulletproof glass in hopes of making it easier to spot the spider strand wires that trigger roadside bombs.
Matthew was tired, hungry, coated in grime and having the time of his life.
His country might be growing weary of the war, but Matthew sure wasn’t.
“I love it here,” he said, as his vee-hulled armored patrol vehicle drove out of the gate of the tiny combat outpost. “I definitely like it better than Twentynine Palms” – his unit’s home base in the desert of Southern California. “There we had to deal with a bunch of Californians.”
The Spokesman Review
May 18, 2008